We’re deep in the dog days now, which means relevant basketball topics are hard to find with both hands and a flashlight. Here, for want of anything truly novel in the Jazz universe, are a few random thoughts about the mid-August tidbits which have surfaced around our squad.
More extension talk
I promise not to bore you with too much on the topic of extensions, since I’ve already written a post and done a podcast on Derrick Favors’ and Gordon Hayward’s range, both with the help of SLC Dunk contributor Peter Novak. But David Locke in his 8/22 podcast gave us some new fodder for the conversation.
A lot of people talk as though $12M is pretty much the floor for Favors’ conversation. Locke is looking at it differently, pointing to comps of other promising but non-All-Star bigs who got in the 9-10M range per year. He pretty much seems to view the range as $40-48M over a four year deal, in contrast to others who think the bidding starts at $48M and just goes north from there.
I’m with Locke here. I think based on precedent and based on what we know about Favors today, the Jazz can start negotiating at $40M with a straight face. Not saying that’s where the dollar figure will land, but I don’t think you come out of the gate offering $12M when honestly I think that should be Favors’ ceiling as far as extensions go. As Locke put it, “This is a deal that should get done if everyone’s reasonable here. The only way it doesn’t get done is if Derrick’s crew really believes… that Derrick goes on the open market and gets a max deal.” I just don’t see Favors commanding the max, although a huge leap in playing time and touches in 2013-14 could alter his value in one direction or the other.
I guess a lot of this comes down to the 2014 market and who will want to spend. I know a lot of teams can create cap space to offer Derrick a 12M+ deal, but I still insist that next year’s free agent market will have some unprecedented weirdness. The confluence of factors (the number of true marquee stars, the new repeater tax, the frenzy around the 2014 draft, etc.) will make next year a nutty free agency period, and I’m not sure a good agent will guarantee his client anything in that type of volatility.
Either way, I thought I’d take a quick look at the 2014 free agent class and imagine where I might rank Hayward and Favors.
First of all, I’m not even sure they rank at the top of the restricted free agent pool. Greg Monroe and Paul George (if they hit restricted free agency at all) will be the prizes there, but DeMarcus Cousins, Greivis Vasquez, Evan Turner, and Eric Bledsoe have all been playing major roles and putting up solid performances, so I’m not sure you could in good conscience put our guys ahead of that group. Even Avery Bradley and Ed Davis have shown flashes but have been similarly hidden behind veteran stars. So far I’d say Hayward and Favors are at best the 5th & 6th sexiest potential RFAs and maybe as low as 9th & 10th. And that’s without leaving the 2009 draft class.
They start sinking farther when we examine the star-studded unrestricted class, starting with LeBron*, Kobe, Tim Duncan*, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo* and Dwyane Wade, all undoubtedly ahead of GH and DF on any sane team’s free agent pecking order. Depending on age, health and other factors, you could feasibly add Paul Pierce, Luol Deng, Andrew Bogut, Danny Granger, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph*, Chris Bosh*, Rudy Gay*, Andrei Kirilenko* and even a revived A’mare Stoudemire* to the top end of the list, although more than likely the fourth year Jazz men will surpass at least a couple of those dudes.
Add those groups together and our guys are probably going to be ranked anywhere from mid teens to late twenties in next year’s free agent market, which has to matter when assessing their extension values. In this year’s free agent crop, a mid-teen free agent was worth an “average annual value” of $7 to 7.5M in Amin Elhassan’s ESPN study, and in the real world the 11-20 group in the same ranking pulled in an average yearly salary of $7M in their new deals. The high man in that group was Monta Ellis ($10M/yr) and the low guy was Kirilenko ($3M). Everyone else was $5-8M per year.
In the same Locke podcast I mentioned earlier, he also gave a cryptic-yet-encouraging update on Jazz swingman Marvin Williams. He said he’d heard good things about Williams’ recovery from knee surgery, saying, “I talked to some people [and] there is some optimism… I think there’s a chance he could be ready November 1 or even training camp.”
That could be great for the Jazz. I have Williams tagged as a guy who could really exceed expectations in 2013-14. There was a lot of hope that his move to Utah would be a welcome change of scenery for Marvin, but as it turns out that was pretty misguided. The JefferJazz offense (which I’ve described as both plodding and anti-slasher) was, we know now, the exact wrong system for Marvin’s skills. But as a part-time 4 and a complement to a more pick-and-roll oriented attack, this could be a good year for Marvin, not to mention for the Jazz as they ponder whether he fits in the future plans.
I also think Williams is underrated as a locker room leader. He was one of the most thoughtful, professional and on-message guys whenever I wandered into the locker room to chat with players last season. His personal struggles probably made it hard to exert himself, but he could be a good mentor to some of the younger players who have to figure out how to lead.
The old guy
Finally, I found humor in an Instagram post by incoming Jazz guard Brandon Rush that was shared by @WeAreJazzNation on Twitter. Not a lot of news is coming from the P3 workouts in Santa Barbara, but I thought it was funny that Rush, all of 28 years old, hashtagged the photo calling himself “oldasshell” (sic) in relation to his young Jazz peers.
— Jazz Nation (@WeAreJazzNation) August 17, 2013
When the senior citizen in Santa Barbara was alive for the Challenger tragedy and the premier of Teen Wolf, you know the demographic is shifting.
That’s all I have for this week. August rolls on and the season is about 24 hours closer each day.